Sunday, January 27, 2013

Congratulations, Men, on
the Star Council Award!

Photo by Chris Herbst
Past Grand Knight Steve House receives the Knights of Columbus Star Council for reaching its new membership goal for the 2011-12 council year. District Deputy John Delander (also of Council 4174) presented the award at the January meeting.

February 2013 Grand Knight's Message: Continuing the Work of Father Michael McGivney

Grand Knight's article from the February 2013 bulletin:

As I look back on the past half year, it is hard to believe I am working on my February article already! Like most fraternal years, we have seen many great things take place this year within the council, including:
  • the support of Cornerstone Women’s Center, which now is in the final stages of renovation and preparing to open;
  • the German dinner, family rosary and picnic, toy drive, coat drive, blood drives, prolife events, All Saints Party, St. Nicholas Party, and chili football classic; and 
  • numerous men’s evangelization events, including Catholic Man Nights, men’s prayer breakfasts, and the recent event and speaker on Our Greatest Struggle.
Yes, our council continues to be active, supporting our parishes and tackling important issues we must deal with in our society. As we look at things done year to date, it is great to see the things we have accomplished, yet my hope for our council is to continue to grow in fraternal brotherhood. We have witnessed many encouraging things that our council continues to do to grow closer as Catholic men. As I sat at last month’s dinner before our business meeting, men of all ages and backgrounds sat together, enjoying each other’s company. I couldn’t help but feel as if we are growing in fraternity. I believe this is an essential aspect of our council — collectively we are growing united together, and united with Christ, for love of neighbor and love of God is essential to our mission.  And so, I ask those of you who have not attended a monthly business meeting held on the first Thursday of the month to please consider attending.  Our new meeting format begins with dinner from 6:30 to 7 p.m.  From 7 to 7:20 p.m. we have our lecturer’s series, which incorporates opportunities to deepen our faith.  Then, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. we hold our business meeting.  We hope to see more men attend, as the discussion and action at our council meeting is the foundation for council activities.

To continue the good works of the council, we must also support council growth. We must all treat membership as a personal mission.  It is no secret that the work of the council must be carried out by good Catholic men. Our “Men in Blue” campaign, in which we simply give out the new blue Knights shirts to active members and have them wear them to events we host, has gone a long way in showing prospective members the good we do. It creates a sense of fraternity, and men feel drawn to the service we provide. This simple aspect has changed many perceptions of what our council does to support the Church, yet this alone is not enough. Along with joyful service, each of our active members is our most effective membership advocate.  I challenge each of you this month to help carry on the work of the Knights of Columbus.  I challenge each of you to help personally talk to prospective members about considering joining the Knights, and letting them truly know what it means to be a Knight of Columbus.

This February and March, our council will conduct our membership blitz. It will take each of you to help make it a success.  First of all, on Saturday, Feb. 2, there is a first-, second-, and third-degree we want to invite men to attend at St. Vincent DePaul in Brooklyn Center.  The first-degree begins at 9 a.m. If you want to bring men to this degree, we can arrange to meet in the parking lot of St. Michael Catholic School at 7:30 a.m. and carpool down to the degree. The weekend of Feb.16 and 17, we have been given time at the end of the weekend Masses to briefly invite men to consider the Knights of Columbus. This year, we are trying a new approach, in which we will invite men to attend an informal meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19, beginning at 7:20 p.m. and running until around 9 p.m. This meeting will be a straightforward opportunity to share who we are as an order and answer any questions that men might have.  We want to make sure men understand what we are about, as well as directly address any concerns they may have. We will have several officers in attendance to then walk men through the Form 100 and discuss what of involvement we hope new members will ideally commit to.  Because we want give men as much flexibility as possible to attend this meeting, there is no set beginning time of a formal presentation. That means if you have a prospective member who can only make it after 8:30 p.m., please have him show up.

Finally, our next first-degree held in our council will take place on March 7 at our council meeting.  New candidates should arrive by 6:45 p.m. so we can complete any Form 100 work that is required. The first degree will begin approximately at 7:15 p.m.  This is our best opportunity to successfully bring new men into the council. To support and grow the programs of the council, we need new, committed men willing to give 15 to 20 hours a year to the service of the council.  The future success of the council depends on each of us taking this mission seriously.

Our council achieves and succeeds on the planning and work of our officers and directors. Along with support of our membership blitz, I must ask you to consider a position as an officer or director. Over the past several years, we have been blessed to have many of the same officers and directors in place.  This collectively has led to well-executed activities in the council. However, this collective leadership has also come with some cost. To a certain extent, knowing that the officers and directors will make the programs happen has led to these men carrying a heavy weight.  As the Grand Knight, I also am concerned that we are burning out our officers and directors.  In short, we need to bring new men into leadership roles to balance the “burn-out” factor.  I ask you to consider if you can step into a leadership role in our council.  I would be more than happy to discuss what this looks like in various leadership roles.  To continue the work Father McGivney started, please consider how you can impact our council’s planning and leading this coming year.

Finally, for our order to grow not only do we need to lead our faith community in service, but we must lead men in faith formation.  This year we will continue to support and grow our men’s evangelization events.  I challenge you to attend at least one of these events this year.   Make a commitment to each other and to Christ.  Together when we grow in fraternity and in love of Christ, our order grows.  Please consider supporting the council through membership, time, and spiritual development.  Our council depends on it!

Sincerely in Christ,
Mike Engel
Grand Knight